Sarkozy gets raucous greeting from fishermen

6th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

6 November 2007, LE GUILVINEC (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy got a raucous welcome on Tuesday from hundreds of French fishermen at this Brittany port who have been holding days of fierce protests over rising fuel costs.

6 November 2007

LE GUILVINEC (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy got a raucous welcome on Tuesday from hundreds of French fishermen at this Brittany port who have been holding days of fierce protests over rising fuel costs.

Hours before his departure for Washington for a two-day official visit, Sarkozy arrived in Le Guilvinec to meet with the fishermen who have blocked roads, burned crates and held protest rallies to demand compensation.

"Fifteen days at sea for 300 euros - that's not right!" shouted some of the 300 fishermen who turned out to meet with the president.

"I will not allow the French fisheries to die," Sarkozy shot back. "I will announce strong measures," he said before going into a meeting with leaders of the protesting fishermen.

The president of the local fishermen's association Philippe Le Moigne had earlier urged the 300 protesters gathered to greet Sarkozy to show "a bit of discipline... kindness and understanding".

Accompanied by Agriculture and Fisheries Miniser Michel Barnier, Sarkozy arrived at a harbour where dozens of boats have been sitting idle since the protest was launched on Friday.

The government has announced 27 million euros (30 million dollars) "in various support payments" for the fishermen who went on strike after the price of fuel hit 1.14 euros per litre.

Fishermen however receive tax breaks that bring the price down to 0.52 euro cents. They maintain that their fleets are not financially feasible if fuel costs rise above 0.30 euro cents per litre.

Some 300 fisherman on Monday blocked access to the Brittany port of Brest, setting fire to crates and preventing trucks from refueling. There were also protests in Dieppe where cross-Channel traffic was disrupted for several hours.

About 30 fishing boats on Monday blocked commercial ships from docking at Le Havre, France's second busiest port after Marseilles.

AFP

Subject: French news

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